KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The roof on the auditorium at Farrington High School collapsed during heavy rain Friday afternoon. Officials said no one was hurt.
A preliminary investigation indicates that the roof of the 1,100-seat auditorium collapsed under the pressure of heavy rain.
Officials from New Hope Christian Fellowship said they were preparing for a church event at the Joseph Rider Farrington Community Auditorium, as it's officially known, when the collapse happened.
"There was only one person in the auditorium, our technician, who was setting up," said John Tilton, executive pastor of New Hope. "Thankfully, he was on the stage when it all came down."
Thousands of people attend one of New Hope's five services at the facility each weekend.
The incident was reported about 3:22 p.m. when police and firefighters were sent to the scene. Shortly after 4 p.m., the Honolulu Fire Department pulled its firefighters out of the building until a structural engineer could assess the safety of the building.
Daniel Coronado, a New Hope church member, said, "The entire roof had collapsed, pretty much encompassing the center of the building, so anywhere there was a gap, it was completely down onto the seats, nothing but clear sky above."
"It's as if a bomb went off," said Tilton. "I mean the whole roof, all the girders, the ceiling, everything over the seating section is all down, is all down."
Farrington High School principal Al Carganilla said a high school slam poetry concert was scheduled for 6 p.m. "My heart just dropped because if it was anytime a little bit later, we could have had an auditorium full of kids and basically community," said Carganilla. "So we're very, very fortunate that it happened when it did, and that nobody's hurt."
Carganilla said that several advisory classes are held in the auditorium, which is also used by the high school's award-winning T-Shirt Theatre troupe.
"I'll sit with our registrar and look at classroom space and where we have space available and make sure we move our kids where there's open rooms because learning doesn't stop. We'll continue to do that," said Carganilla.
New Hope members continued setting up tents on the high school lawn as usual, but will set up for their weekend services in the gym.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said all upcoming events in the auditorium have been canceled until other arrangements can be made.